To view my speech on YouTube, click here:

“Thank you, Chair. I rise to speak on the motion before us. Council invited the community to have their say on Brisbane’s Northwest Transport Network in late 2019 and provided the findings to Infrastructure Australia in mid-2022. This was a study on residents’ travel behaviours, and where transport services and infrastructure could improve. It was therefore a multimodal consultation. We wanted to hear from residents how they got to work, to school, leisure, shopping, and the issues that they had as well as suggestions to improve their travel, whether it was active travel, public transport, or by car.   The consultation was extensive and included online surveys, emails, mail, phone feedback, as well as many in-person consultations, and I attended many of those consultations to listen to residents, in particular, Carseldine Central and Carseldine Markets.

Chair, the common theme, regardless of the type of transport residents wanted, was the importance of preserving our bushland; preserving the community that lives around the bushland; and time and time again I heard them say they wanted to see a tunnel option instead of an above-ground solution.

Gympie Road has been an issue in my community for a very long time, with the growth in Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast. This major arterial road runs through my community, with local traffic having to navigate across it just to go to get milk and bread, get the kids to school, or to go from home to work, takes so much longer as a result. I do have to say that my residents, though, have been fantastic. They’ve been managing this for a very long time, and in my commute home every day I watch them as they are very patient and they give way to each other, even though it’s their turn to go. You see them stopping and letting people get through the gap and working together. They are lining up down Gympie Road in amongst major traffic—these cars are lined up and making a lane on the side of the road. If the local member can’t see that, he’s not getting out of his office.

This is why I’m so disappointed that, after such an extensive and thorough consultation with residents, the State Government is ignoring the residents. The State Government has forgotten them, and they don’t care about the northern suburbs. In fact, they don’t care about Moreton Bay residents, who also provided their feedback.

In fact, we’re talking about the State Government wanting to do their own consultation, which of course, as the Lord Mayor said, they still haven’t done. Let me give you an example of what happens when they do consultation. An example is Strathpine Diverging Diamond Interchange, also in my community, and which goes across Gympie Road. It is in the heart of this area. Residents raised concern during consultation that the turning lanes that came off the highway, and the lanes off the interchange on to Bald Hills Road, had been reduced. We could see that there would be an issue with school traffic alone. But instead of being listened to, people were told, and I quote, the Strathpine and Bald Hills Road intersection would operate at, or better than, pre-project conditions. They obviously realised during construction that there was a problem, and suddenly they added to this construction signals at Attley Street.

When residents and I raised our concerns about this, we were told, no, that’s okay, it’s because, Councillor, you’ve mentioned many times the difficulty of turning into that road. We’re going to put signals there. It wasn’t part of the initial consultation, and of course, our fears were realised, and turning traffic congested the overpass.

The State Government solution was then to put a variable message sign up to direct school traffic to use Attley Street and direct traffic down local streets, where traffic calming had been installed just years prior to improve safety, local streets that are unsuitable for such volumes. The school was not informed. I was not informed. Residents were not informed. So it was only myself talking to TMR that pointed out to them that they were pushing this traffic on to an unsuitable road.

This is the result of State Government cutting corners and not addressing the congestion in northern suburbs, where we still are waiting, two federal elections later, for Linkfield Road, which is the sister road to the Strathpine Diamond Exchange, to be duplicated, and the Beams Road open level train crossing to be removed. Council, in the meantime following community consultation, has upgraded Hoyland Street, Norris Road, Dorville Road, Roghan Road, and has started on Beams Road.

This is the time when we have secured the Olympics and should be benefiting from that to build a legacy for Brisbane and for Queensland. Transport was a key focus, not stadiums, to securing the Olympics. This is a regional Games, and we should be getting the necessary infrastructure to support this. It’s about tourism, business and jobs, not just the Games, that will benefit us before and after the Games have finished. Instead of ignoring residents, the State needs to listen, like Council does, and join us in lobbying the Federal Government for this vital infrastructure. Shame on you, Councillor Cassidy. It is your residents who are being affected by this, and shame on you for not supporting a solution for your residents.”

14 March 2023